HSEC finds new shelter home

Published 3:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2012

Finding homes for pets abandoned or surrendered has been a main focus for members of the Humane Society of Escambia County for nearly a decade.
After the cities of Brewton and Atmore decided to take on sheltering services themselves, humane society officials found themselves looking for a home of their own.
Joe Thomas, president of the board of directors for HSEC, said the group has found a home — at least for now.
“We are renting a facility to be used for our shelter,” Thomas said. “We are going to rent for a while with an option to buy in the future if we choose to stay in the location.”
The facility, which is located on U.S. 31 south between Brewton and Flomaton, is currently being renovated to accommodate sheltering animals, Thomas said.
“We had to install heating and air conditioning to help get it ready for animals,” Thomas said. “Kennels had to be ordered to be installed as well. There will be some additional renovations that will be done to bring the building up to a point to properly care for animals.”
Already home to some animals being cared for by HSEC staff, the facility will mainly focus on taking care of animals taken in from around the county.
“Escambia County wanted to retain the Humane Society to take care of animal control in the unincorporated areas of the county,” Thomas said. “We will continue to take care of things from that perspective.”
And the Humane Society staff will continue to address other concerns as well.
“Our long-term goal is, and always has been, to save the lives of as many animals as possible,” Thomas said. “We will continue to provide adoption services and make transports of animals to other areas.”
The Humane Society of Escambia County had previously provided animal control services for the City of Brewton and the City of Atmore. Recently, both municipalities have elected to take care of their own animal control services using city employees and facilities.
In November, the City of Atmore was joined by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to open a facility in order to take care of animal control and shelter animals picked up, abandoned or surrendered within the Atmore and Poarch areas. A ribbon cutting was held for the facility located on Cinderbrand Road just south of downtown Atmore.
Last week, the City of Brewton took control of a building previously used as the HSEC shelter. The city maintained ownership of the building throughout the seven years HSEC officials operated a shelter there renting the facility from the city.
According to City Clerk John Angel, plans are to make any needed repairs, purchase materials, supplies and furnishings needed to begin conducting business as an animal control office and animal sheltering facility.
“We have plans to be up and operational in about two weeks,” Angel said last week. “It could take up to a month, but we will work as quickly as possible to get the facility operational.”
The current Brewton animal control office and shelter is located on U.S. 31 south near Georgia-Pacific’s Brewton mill.